View Full Version : RIP "boris"

04-28-2007, 08:13 PM
Monster Masher, R.I.P. by Julie Keller
Thu Apr 26, 1:42 PM ET

Los Angeles (E! Online) - Bobby "Boris" Pickett, the man who gave Halloween its graveyard-smash anthem, is joining his crypt-kickers in the great beyond.

The "Monster Mash" mastermind died Wednesday night in Los Angeles at age 69 following a long battle with leukemia, according to manager Stuart Hersh.

A struggling actor and musician, Pickett turned his obsession with the old Boris Karloff-Bela Lugosi Universal fright flicks into a one-hit, career-making franchise.

Pickett would break out his Karloff impersonation in between songs of his nightclub act. Per lore, one of his band mates suggested Pickett sing a song as Karloff. So he teamed with piano-playing pal Leonard Capizzi to come up with the ditty that ate Halloween.

Before the novelty song reached iconic status, however, it was rejected by four major labels. Finally, "Alley Oop" singer Gary Paxton decided to release it on his own. Pickett, backed by Paxton and the Crypt-Kickers, a band that included then unknown keyboardist Leon Russell, recorded the song in 1962, complete with name-checks of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man and appropriately cheesy sound effects.

Six weeks later, on Oct. 20, "Monster Mash" topped the singles chart. The song eventually became one of the rare tunes to threepeat on the Billboard 100, getting a boost in popularity in August 1970 and May 1973.

According to Pickett's official Website, themonstermash.com, the song was used in the movies Sweetheart's Dance and Halloween III and has been heard on such television shows as The Simpsons, Cheers, Rosanne, Doogie Howser, Happy Days and Sesame Street. The tune can also be found on at least two dozen compilation albums and has even served as inspiration for a "Monster Mash" board game.

"Monster Mash" has been covered by the Beach Boys, the Misfits, Mannheim Steamroller, Karloff himself and even as a made-for-Jimmy Kimmel duet by Mike Tyson and Bobby Brown.

Try as he might, Pickett could never escape the one-hit wonder label. His 1962 Christmas-themed follow-up, "Monster's Holiday," failed to make much noise on the charts; neither did "Graduation Day," which peaked at number 80 in 1963. He also recorded the Klingon-spoofing tune "Star Dreck," which got some spins on the old Dr. Demento radio show but never beamed up on the hit parade.

In 2005, Pickett again tried to capitalize on his iconic song's popularity, remaking it as an anti-global-warming lament called "Climate Mash."

Up until his death, his site boasted "Bobby 'Boris' Pickett is available year round and can be dug up to appear and sing a medley of his hit." And it seems he never tired of hearing his beloved ode to Halloween. In a 1996 interview with People magazine, Pickett said, "When I hear it, I hear a cash register ringing."

Pickett's acting career peaked in the 1960s with bit parts in such TV shows as Bonanza, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Twelve O'Clock High and The Long, Hot Summer. His last major role was, aptly enough, as Dr. Victor Frankenstein in the straight-to-video 1995 musical Monster Mash: The Movie.

Funeral arrangements for Pickett have not yet been released. He is survived by his sister, daughter and two grandchildren.

04-29-2007, 05:43 PM
Gee - I hadn't heard this. Thanks for letting us know. RIP "Boris"

04-30-2007, 08:44 PM
Aww man, that's sad.

I'm actually working on a lego film using the Misfits cover of Monster Mash.

:bat: :bat:
Now everything's cool, Drac's a part of the band
And my monster mash is the hit of the land
For you, the living, this mash was meant too
When you get to my door, tell them Boris sent you :frank: